Batswana’s Beliefs, Myths and Practices regarding Certain Birds




customs , birds , myths, practices, beliefs  


From time immemorial, birds have been considered to represent a variety of symbols, depending on their attributes and behaviour. Birds might epitomise spirituality, life, death, peace or conflict. This article deals with the traditional beliefs, myths and practices of the Batswana regarding certain birds, such as the mmamasiloanoka (hamerkop/hammerhead), kgoadira (fish eagle) tladi (lightning bird), tlhatlhamedupe (Jacobin cuckoo bird), leeba/lephoi (dove), lenong (vulture), legakabe (crow) and morubisi (owl) that feature prominently in their biosphere. The Batswana composed songs, poems, dramas, performances, folktales and proverbs about these birds, contending that religious value can culturally be attributed to the activities of these birds, in so far as their exertions and stories about them concern human experiences such as distress, happiness or strong belief. This research will use a qualitative method to analyse Setswana literature about the birds. The theory of critical discourse analysis is employed to enhance knowledge creation. The study demonstrated that religious value can culturally be attributed to the activities of these birds.

Author Biography

D S Matjila, University of South Africa

Department of African Languages, University of South Africa


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How to Cite

Matjila, D S. 2022. “Batswana’s Beliefs, Myths and Practices Regarding Certain Birds”. Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies 32 (2):18 pages .



Received 2022-06-16
Accepted 2023-05-26
Published 2023-08-16